Monday, November 29, 2010
NaBloPoMo Day 29
The emergency department is where you go when you have a, wait for it, emergency.
When you go to the emergency department, you will have your emergency evaluated in a process called triage. Triage doesn't mean that because you think you are really sick with your 5 month history of back pain that you will be seen before the patient with the 5 minute history of not breathing.
Now, if you are sitting in the waiting room, people will be brought in before you even if you got there before them. If you make it to one of the exam room, you still may sit for a while because ambulances never stop coming and sometimes sicker patients need a little more attention.
Once you are seen, all the tests you think you need are still going to take some time. If you need labwork, count on at least 90 minutes. Fifteen to have the labwork drawn. An hour or so to process the lab. And then fifteen minutes or so for me to notice that the results have come back.
Think about the same for x-rays. All bets are off when it comes to CT scans. I can't control when the tech decides to take you. If you need contrast by mouth, you need at least 2 hours. If you need IV contrast you need to have a lab first. Unless you're an emergency. Then it's straight to the CT scanner and the kidneys be damned. Of course, I still have to wait for the radiologist to read the CT.
Ok, got it so far? We're not even going to talk about what happens if you need to be admitted.